ImagiCon: Imagine the Possibilities with OLC’s DLIAward


Nori Barajas-Murphy, Grant Project Director, Online Learning Consortium

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OLC joins NMC at SXSWedu for ImagiCon
OLC’s Chief Knowledge Officer Karen Pedersen and Business Development Representative Matt Norsworthy joined me in Austin last week for the SXSWedu Conference & Festival where we met other grantees and partners of the Bill & Melinda Gates Postsecondary Student Success effort at the Personalized Learning and Student Success Summit.

Students, educators, entrepreneurs and policy makers converged in Austin to kickoff the month of SXSW festivals with SXSWedu, a 4-day education event. All SXSWedu panels and summits were selected by members of the SXSW community, including the public, SXSW advisory board members and SXSW staff, by means of the SXSW PanelPicker system. The Personalized Learning and Student Success Summit was selected as one of seventeen summits voted in for the event.   

The Personalized Learning and Student Success Summit, organized by the New Media Consortium (NMC), was a full day of events intended to deepen the discussion and increase the knowledge base around personalized learning. Sessions included a structured problem solving gathering, a convention-type showcase segment, a Town Hall meeting and, as one would expect at SXSW, an after-hours event at a local music venue.

Our amazing host, NMC, provided a well-organized event that brought many people from the field together for the day to better understand how to increase student success through the use of personalized learning. The full day of events brought about an array of experiences, questions and challenges that validated the need for the Summit. The first in a series of two blogs, this blog focuses on the ImagiCon session.

The ImagiCon session was a convention-type showcase in which Personalized Learning grantees created interactive spaces related to their solution or strategy. Karen, Matt and I engaged passers by with information about the Digital Learning Innovation Award (#DLIAward). Our booth was appointed with a theater style area for participants to review our informational slide deck complete with DLIAward FAQ’s. Participants were put to the test with the OLC DLIAward quiz in which they matched different aspects of the award and award submission criteria for a chance to win a prize.

The OLC Digital Learning Innovation Award
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Personalized Learning Initiative has the potential to create solutions for some of the most compelling issues surrounding student success in postsecondary education. As a grantee, OLC hopes to expand knowledge significantly in the field of digital courseware through the  OLC’s Digital Learning Innovation Award , an award provided to colleges and universities at the institutional and faculty level who show promise of contributing to excellence in the digital courseware field.  The application deadline for the awards is June 30th. Consider joining OLC CEO Kathleen Ives and CKO Karen Pedersen on March 30th for the next in a series of several monthly upcoming OLC DLIAward webinars designed to assist institutions and faculty-led teams interested in applying for the award.

About Nori Barajas-Murphy

Nori Barajas-Murphy

Nori has worked in education for over 25 years as an educator, faculty developer, and grant specialist. She has acted as the project director for two Title V HSI grants at a private university in Southern California. For the Title V Part B Graduate Grant, she was the project lead for developing a 4-course certificate in Online Course Design aimed at K12 teachers. In her role as the grant director in the Title V Part A Coop Undergraduate Grant, she oversaw collaboration between a community college partner focusing on increasing the number of underrepresented students completing a 4-year degree in education. As part of the grant activity, Nori also lead an instructional design team in the complete redesign of the undergraduate Educational Studies Program, bringing Instructional Design services to the university for the first time. Nori also served as the team lead and grant writer for the development of a third Title V grant, focusing on Competence & Connection. Additionally, Nori has served as a grant groomer and grant selection committee member for a variety of K12 grants including Digital High School and Knox Grants.

Prior to and concurrent with her grant roles, Nori worked extensively in faculty development. She has developed a 6-module certification program for faculty to transition to online or blended teaching, she has developed an innovative digital scholarship training series in collaboration with university librarians, and she has developed comprehensive multi-year training programs for institutional roll outs of new student information systems at two large K12 school districts. She has taught online for over 6 years and has researched the differences in best practices between synchronous and asynchronous course delivery. In addition to her foray into online education, Nori has taught for over 20 years in K12 and higher education. She is a Google Certified Educator and an American Heroes in Education Award winner.

Currently, Nori is working on her Ed. D.. Her research interests include the pedagogical best practices in online synchronous learning environments, teasing apart the reasons students prefer print text over digital text for learning, and the development of a digital text taxonomy advancing the transformation of adaptive and responsive course content.

Nori shares her life with a madman who coordinates logistics for extreme sports and with their 15 year old daughter. None like schedules or bedtimes.


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